9 Can't-Miss Fundamentals When Choosing a Conversational Chatbot

Neha Ghai
May 3, 2023
9 Can't-Miss Fundamentals When Choosing a Conversational Chatbot

At a Glance

  • Grocery retailers are undergoing a sea-change in medium of interactions between shoppers.
  • AI-bots are the future for digital native shoppers.
  • 82% grocers believe AI will be necessary to compete in the future.
  • Selecting the conversational chatbots needs research and consideration before implementation.
  • This article deep dives into the nine fundamentals you cannot miss before selecting your bot of the future.

With the advent of artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning, the retail industry is witnessing a sea change in how business is done. Retail chatbots conversing and mimicking human interactions are the newest innovations on the block. These virtual assistants are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and natural language understanding (NLU) to provide a seamless, quick, near-human experience.

Dialogue-based AI bots address the challenge of connecting with time-restricted shoppers. The bots can resolve queries, shorten waiting times, and personalized customer service without human interaction, simplifying and streamlining the customer experience. 

‍Grocery Doppio reports that 82% of grocers believe AI will be necessary to compete in the future. Thirteen percent of grocers surveyed said they plan to spend non-budgeted funds developing AI solutions in 2023, and 59% of grocers say they would test an AI solution in 2023.

The numbers highlight a growing trend of implementing AI solutions to meet the changing needs of consumers and enhance grocers’ competitive advantage by scaling the personalized customer experience. When leveraged appropriately, sophisticated chatbots can be an indispensable differentiator for grocers.

Chatbots have the power to radically change the shopping experience, create memorable customer interactions, and improve brand loyalty - but not all chatbots are created equal. 

Before selecting a chatbot solutions provider, it is essential to conduct thorough research to determine whether an in-house or third-party provider would be the best fit. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice will depend on factors such as the organization's available bandwidth, facilities, and skilled resources. It is crucial to thoroughly investigate and understand these important considerations before moving forward with a chatbot solution.

Outlined below are nine critical aspects grocers must consider when selecting the appropriate chatbot implementation.

  1. Industry Expertise - The company you choose as your conversational chatbot partner should have grocery industry expertise. A broad range of data sets helps train the AI model. For example, a grocer-focused bot provider will be well-equipped to answer queries related to quality, freshness, and pricing. 
  2. Integration - Enriched customer experience is essential  when choosing an AI chatbot. A grocer’s pre-existing platform and solutions must integrate with the chatbot solution and
    provide the bot with seamless, secure access to all relevant customer data and information.
  1. Client Manager - Each company you onboard should have a good client manager dedicated to you. A company that provides you with a client manager that understands your needs and requirements, creates an action plan, and tailors bespoke solutions for you helps measure the chatbot's success.
  1. Agent Augmentation - Even the most potent chatbots will require human interaction. Research conducted on ChatBot for Customer Support Operation reports that chatbots can take care of 30% of live chat communication. Chatbots can resolve many queries; however, complex issues are forwarded to live customer support. The context of the problem and relevant information needs to be presented to customer support to enable it to resolve the case with a positive outcome for the customer.
  1. User Friendly - The customer support team must navigate the bot’s interface easily. A sophisticated technology with a scary UI does not enable complete optimization. Hands-on, easy-to-use functionality is a must. 
  1. Security - Customer data and preferences are necessary to understand the market and individual shopper demands. Forty-eight percent of users prefer to interact with a chatbot that solves issues over a human personality. With the growing acceptance of chatbots to humans, secure data storage capabilities also must be embedded and critical to chatbot design. Chatbots are designed to allow for the storage, processing, and retrieval of data. The accessibility of the private data of shoppers is a concern, and securing the data is of paramount importance. Grocers must not only meet all data regulations and procedures, but they must also go above and beyond to ensure customer and enterprise data is safe and secure.
  1. Boost Customer Loyalty - Fifty-seven percent of businesses report that chatbots deliver a significant ROI on minimal investment. Providing exceptional customer experience and support can convert customers into loyal brand advocates who refer the brand to others. It is more challenging to acquire new customers daily than retain loyal ones. Satisfying and meeting the customers' needs every time is crucial for businesses to remain successful and competitive. 
  1. Enabling intelligent Product Search - In today's fast-paced world, convenience is central, and loyalty follows suit, as consumers no longer have time to scour entire stores for product alternatives. AI-equipped bots can assist with product searches and pricing comparisons. E.g. Kroger’s Virtual Assist can help shoppers choose between products, providing information on the pricing and any promotions available for either option.
  1. Pricing - When choosing a chatbot solutions provider, pricing is pivotal to choosing between different vendors with different pricing strategies. Three basic pricing models are typically followed for chatbots: cost per message, cost per chat/conversation, and cost per customer. Additionally, vendors may charge based on the number of agents using the chatbot. Understand and negotiate the pricing model that is best suited for the organization.


In a previous article in this series, Chatbots: Improving Seamless Interactions between Grocers and Centennials, the benefits and challenges of implementing chatbots in grocery retail have been discussed. 

In the upcoming article, Fostering Loyalty: How Conversational AI Assistants Enrich the Customer Experience we dive deep into the companies that have implemented conversational AI chatbots in retail.


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